Thailand: no end in sight as rebellion enters 5th year

Jan 14, 2008, Jihad Watch
Thai soldier beheaded,
7 others killed:

Suspected Muslim insurgents killed eight soldiers — leaving one beheaded — in a bomb and shooting attack Monday in restive southern Thailand, army and police officials said.
The soldiers were on a routine morning patrol in the Chanae district of Narathiwat province when a bomb hidden on the road exploded as their vehicle passed, said the spokesman, Col. Akara Thiprote.
After the blast, suspected insurgents attacked the vehicle with a barrage of gunfire, leaving no survivors, he said.
"One of the soldiers was beheaded. His head was found 50 meters away from the scene of the attack," said police Lt. Col. Chakkrote Nongmanee, who inspected the blast site.
No end in sight as south Thai rebellion enters fifth year
Jan 3, 2008, AFP:
Brutal killings have reached unprecedented levels in Thailand's Muslim-majority south, experts say, as the region enters the fifth year of a separatist insurgency that is tearing communities apart.

A government policy of reconciliation in the region has backfired, analysts told AFP, with rebels beheading, mutilating and even crucifying victims to try to spark a backlash and create divisions between Buddhists and Muslims.

"They kill in such brutal ways: beheaded, hacked to death, set on fire ... the idea is to provoke a strong reaction of the Buddhist Thais against Muslims," said Sunai Phasuk, a Thailand consultant with Human Rights Watch.

"The Buddhist Thais feel that they have become subject of atrocities, and many of them even feel that ethnic cleansing is going on."

The pace of deadly violence has picked up since militants raided a southern army base on January 4, 2004, reviving long-running tensions and triggering an insurgency along the border region with Malaysia.

About 1,800 people were killed in the first three years of the insurgency. By the end of the fourth that has now risen to more than 2,800.

The south was an autonomous Malay sultanate until Buddhist Thailand annexed it in 1902.

Former prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra's heavy-handed tactics were widely blamed for exacerbating the unrest in Yala, Pattani and Narathiwat provinces, but he was ousted in a military coup in 2006.

The generals and their interim premier Surayud Chulanont vowed to quell the insurgency with olive branches for rebels, an apology for past abuses, reform of Islamic schools and tougher security.

Instead, they watched as killings grew more frequent and brutal, with both Buddhists and Muslims targeted every day.

An average of 72 people have been killed each month since September 2006, sharply up from 53 deaths per month before the coup ...

Associated Press:
More than 30 people have been decapitated during the insurgency, many of them civilians. The object appears to be to terrorize Buddhists into leaving the region.

The insurgents do not issue public statements, but researchers who have had contact with them believe they seek a separate Islamic state ...

The degree of influence on the insurgents by outside Islamic extremist groups is still a matter of debate, though many experts agree that the rebellion is a homegrown reaction to decades of disenchantment over misrule and discrimination by Thailand's central government.
Robert Spencer:
No one there has the idea that any non-Muslim rule over Muslims is illegitimate and must be resisted violently. Oh, no. It's all about Thai misrule. Good governments ends jihad, doncha know ...

Yes, he was a real hardliner, old Thaksin was. Those origami were brutal. Brutal!

And anyway, if it's all Thaksin's fault, why is it still going on? The new leader is a Muslim, and the "hardline" tactics, such as they were, are a thing of the past.
Please Note: whilst this blog also deals at times with the issue of race, Robert Spencer of Jihad Watch holds the view that the anti-jihad resistance is not about race.

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